Joe P. Asher
Pedestrians in the city of Harlan now have a safer option when it comes to crossing the U.S. 421 Bypass.
U.S. 421, a four lane highway commonly known as the bypass, runs through the city of Harlan and is used by both vehicles and pedestrians.
Ken Howard, Health Educator at Harlan County Health Department, explains many residents cross this busy highway in places that are not designated as crosswalks, presenting a danger to both pedestrians and motorists.
Howard explained that some residents may be doing this because the crosswalk lights had not been operational for some time. These lights are once again functioning properly.
Local resident Rachel Gibson uses the crosswalks on a daily basis. She and her husband Jonathan have two small children, Sailum and Hellana.
Gibson estimates she is required to cross at least once a day, and sometimes several times in a day. She usually has her children with her.
Gibson stated before the light was operational, she and her children would have to wait for the traffic going one direction to clear, cross to the median, then wait for the traffic to clear in the other direction before crossing the rest of the way. This required Gibson and her children to wait in the median sometimes for several minutes before being able to complete crossing.
According to Gibson, the crosswalk “is so much safer now that the light is working.”
Gibson pointed out she uses the cross walks for many reasons.
“Groceries, health department visits, and I take the kids to the library at least a couple of times a week. We use it a lot,” said Gibson.
According to Howard, the state dispatched three engineers from Manchester around June 12. The engineers performed a walk-through to evaluate the situation and the crosswalk light was operational by June 14.
Howard points out that crossing at the proper location is much safer than crossing the highway at any other point. Pedestrians run a greater risk of injury by not crossing at the designated areas.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org